24 March 2011

Azkals fight for dear life

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals must beat Bangladesh Friday if they hope to advance to the main draw of the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup next year.

To survive, the Filipinos will have to go through the proverbial eye of the needle since they will be battling a dangerous Bangladesh side in their last group qualifying match at the Aung San Stadium in Rangoon, Myanmar.

Although ranked way below the Azkals in the FIFA world standings, Bangladesh showed a glimpse of its potential when it stunned host Myanmar, 2-0, on Wednesday night.

Against Myanmar, the Azkals could only manage a 1-1 draw last Monday.

The Azkals are ranked 151 while Bangladesh 174th.

Compounding the Azkals’ woes will be the absence of midfielder Simon Greatwich.

The 22-year-old Filipino-British, who earned his first yellow card on Monday, will sit out Friday’s game after being slapped with a second yellow for diving in the penalty area of the Palestinians, who held the Azkals to a scoreless draw the other night.

Game time is 5 p.m. (Manila time) and the Azkals can’t afford to lose or even settle for another draw because that will mean the end of their campaign.

A victory, however, assures them one of the two slots at stake in the tournament’s finals next year.

Held to a draw twice, the Azkals are currently at third spot in Group A with two points behind Bangladesh (three points) and Palestine (four points), which have the best chance of advancing. Myanmar is at the cellar with a point.

The PH-Bangladesh tiff will be held simultaneously with the closing Myanmar-Palestine clash in a different venue to avoid manipulation of the results.

A victory over Bangladesh will give the Azkals five points and a spot to the next round regardless of the outcome of the other match.

But if the Azkals lose or settle for a draw, they will be eliminated.

Midfielder Chieffy Caligdong and newcomer Yannick Tuason showed flashes of offensive and defensive brilliance, but it proved not enough to topple the tall Palestinians on Friday.

“I’m satisfied with the result,” Azkals German coach Hans Michael Weiss was quoted as saying. “I have seen a very strong Palestine team that we really had to endure. It was not an easy match.”

Manila Bulletin


  1. Any news on Jerry Lucena's debut?

  2. Simon suspended ? He dont mention this himself .


  3. Ya that is weird. According to the match report against Myanmar, there were no yellow cards. There was only the red card which Myanmar's GK Kyaw Zin Htet received. The replay shown by Studio 23 also confirms that there were no yellow cards throughout the game.

    So Simon should only have one yellow card so far, against Palestine.

  4. Don't know if Simon got a yellow against Myanmar or not. Also not sure if they count yellow in the pre playoff qualifiers, if they do then he did get a yellow against Mongolia.

    There might be some confusion whether that counts against this group stage or not.

  5. im wondering why coach weiss wouldn't let Becite play. he's good enough. even better than sabio

  6. Sabio is a defender.... Becite is a midfielder. How can you say one is better than the other when they're two completely different players who play different positions?

  7. Simon should be good to play for the Bangladesh match. Simon was booked with a yellow card during the match against Palestine and he likewise was booked with another yellow card during the Home/Away Play-off with Mongolia
    Based on the AFC Challenge Cup Competition rules a SINGLE yellow card received in the Home/Away playoff will not be carried forward to the group stage Qualification.
    Cards are only carried over to the next stage if he is sent off or receives 2 cautions. Same rule applies from the Group Stage Qualifiers to the AFC Challenge Cup Finals.

  8. Becite is better then Simon greatwich. Chris Greatwich is a lot better than his younger brother.

  9. I hope J. Sabio doesn't F*ck this up.

  10. off yata si weiss sa training ni becite lately kaya di siya pinaglalaro. pero nung try out nung january he's one of the favorites among the local players. kaya nga dadalawa lang sila ni tuason sa mga nag-try out ang nasama sa line up sa myanmar.

    madami nakapansin na from bacolod malamya na mag-practice si becite. sabi nga ni weiss para daw tulog.

    may personal yatang problema. sayang lang. ito na kasi chance niya. buti pa si tuason kahit 20 minutes nakapag-sub hehe.

    kaya tip talaga sa mga players wag dalhin sa field ang problema.

    but i agree, mas magaling na di hamak si becite kaysa kay simon greatwich